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Bulgarian M72 ??

Article about: Hi fellow collectors. I am not an expert on Bulgarian helmets, so would appreciate any advice on this model. I am not sure if it is a M51 or a M51/72 , I am aware there is a difference in sh

  1. #1
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    Default Bulgarian M72 ??

    Hi fellow collectors.

    I am not an expert on Bulgarian helmets, so would appreciate any advice on this model.

    I am not sure if it is a M51 or a M51/72 , I am aware there is a difference in shape between these two models of shell, but are there any distinct methods to work out the differences!
    Is there a possibility this is a M51 shell, with a M72 liner, as going by the date stamp on the liner obviously it's a later issued model???

    Please see below for pictures of my helmet,and finally thanks for looking.

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Bulgarian M72 ??

    the shape of the visor appears to be from the M51/72

  3. #3

    Default Re: Bulgarian M72 ??

    I would agree with battlegear - telling a 51 from a 51/72 ins't the easiest thing, but the later model does have a slight lip around the rim which isn't present on the original (although I sometimes wonder whether this is actually an illusion...). Apart from that the 72 usually has larger vent lugs and, almost always, sewn-on rather than riveted chinstrap parts. It is not unknown for helmets to be made up of liners and shells of wildly varying vintage, which could explain yours.

    Anyone interested in the Bulgars should check this page - Bulgarian Helmtes' History - but even Ted Muhovski seems reluctant to commit as to what the differences really are.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Bulgarian M72 ??

    very nice m51/72 opex ,and with a nice paint patina ,one day i must try and pick an example up ,now you must be scratching your head to this statement as i already own one but the strange thing is its an unissued m51/72 with a date of 1981 on the liner but this is definately the earlier shell ,this type is commonly missold as an italian m33 ,so a bit of a puzzler for me ,in fact i never even gave it a second thought untill i read your thread so thanks ,if you dont mind i will post my example it has the splinter pattern cover ,also ive put a picture from a book to show you the subtle differences of the side profile to help us all out ,cheers jamesClick image for larger version. 

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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Bulgarian M72 ??

    Quote by battle gear View Post
    the shape of the visor appears to be from the M51/72

    Many thanks for the confirmation BG, greatly appreciated!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Bulgarian M72 ??

    Quote by Greg Pickersgill View Post
    I would agree with battlegear - telling a 51 from a 51/72 ins't the easiest thing, but the later model does have a slight lip around the rim which isn't present on the original (although I sometimes wonder whether this is actually an illusion...). Apart from that the 72 usually has larger vent lugs and, almost always, sewn-on rather than riveted chinstrap parts. It is not unknown for helmets to be made up of liners and shells of wildly varying vintage, which could explain yours.

    Anyone interested in the Bulgars should check this page - Bulgarian Helmtes' History - but even Ted Muhovski seems reluctant to commit as to what the differences really are.
    Many thanks again Greg, I appreciate your advice and opinions ,and for the link too, if Ted Muhovski is reluctant to to commit to the differences,I don't stand a chance, thanks again.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Bulgarian M72 ??

    "very nice m51/72 opex ,and with a nice paint patina ,one day i must try and pick an example up ,now you must be scratching your head to this statement as i already own one but the strange thing is its an unissued m51/72 with a date of 1981 on the liner but this is definately the earlier shell ,this type is commonly missold as an italian m33 ,so a bit of a puzzler for me ,in fact i never even gave it a second thought untill i read your thread so thanks ,if you dont mind i will post my example it has the splinter pattern cover ,also ive put a picture from a book to show you the subtle differences of the side profile to"

    Thanks James, first up I love the splinter cover, I'm always a sucker for camo covers, so I'm glad you posted yours up!

    I am slightly confused by the profiles, I guess I need to pick up an early M51 and do the comparison trick then, I did line this one up next to an Italian M33, and it is a close shape, and the liner is similar too, so I can see why some collectors buy one thinking it's Italian????


    Fortunately I have received some excellent tips on this one, which is fantastic, and also this is one of the cheapest helmets I have purchased to date !

    Thanks again.

  8. #8
    JBR
    JBR is offline
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    Default Re: Bulgarian M72 ??

    I think there's a further source of confusion over the steel shell's form. Having looked at loads of these at shows and on line, quite a few seem (to me, anyway) to have had the shell reversed during the manufacturing process. Where this appears to have happened, the slightly pointed peak still occurs at the front (so reversal after stamping but before trimming?) and the rivets are still 2 at front/1 to rear (so reversal after drilling, too?) but the bottom side profile curve appears further towards the front than on non-reversed shells. Also, the crown profile looks decidedly different towards the front. There are other variations, I believe - particularly regarding the M51 shell - where stamping or trimming has taken place slightly on the slant fore and aft, again resulting in a slightly odd looking form. Getting back to the differences between the M51 and M51/72, in my opinion the latter is much less streamlined than the former, it's bowl tending more towards ball shape. Well, that's my tuppence-worth!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Bulgarian M72 ??

    here's my helmet with the earlier style shell similiar to the Italian M33, it has flat style rivets

    would mine be considered a M51 ? the chin strap is not riveted, it's sewn on, I guess mine is a late varient of the M51 since it retains the older style shell



    shown next to a Yugo M59 / 85 for size & shape comparison
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    Last edited by battle gear; 07-30-2013 at 07:37 AM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Bulgarian M72 ??

    great information battle gear ,my mint example doesnt have rivited chinstraps either so mine must be an early m51 somehow stored away untill being date stamped in 1981 but the condition is still like new ,very strange ,thanks for sharing

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